04th Nov2021

‘AEW: Dark’ Review (Nov 2nd 2021)

by Phil Wheat

Welcome to this weeks review of AEW: Dark, which opens with a genre-bending promo from FTR which is part promo part vlog – and we all know how AEW is the home of the vlog (just how many wrestlers in the company have vlogs now?) Anyway, we’ve got Excalibur and Taz on commentary for this episode which emanates from AEW Universal in Florida.

Match #1: Santana & Ortiz def. Joe Coleman & Idris Abraham

My Thoughts: You knew, given their upcoming match against Ethan Page, Scorpio Sky and American Top Team, that Santana & Ortiz were going to make short work of their opponents in this one. And that’s exactly what happened here in a glorious squash match. Yeah, I enjoy seeing Santana & Ortiz kick arse frankly.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #2: Nyla Rose def. Viva Van

My Thoughts: Vickie Guerrero kicked Justin Roberts out the ring to introduce Nyal Rose who made quick work of Viva Van in her second appearance for AEW. Van got a couple of moves in but this, like the first match, was more about showing Rose’s dominance in the TBS tournament rather than this singles match.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #3: Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson def. Eli Knight & Malik Bosede

My Thoughts: I’m really enjoying Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson as a tag team and it really does look like teaming together is bringing out the best in both men. I say men, but these guys are youngsters compared to other wrestlers on the roster and if they keep going like this they’re definitely future AEW main eventers.

My Score: 2 out of 5

Match #4: Daniel Garcia def. RSP

My Thoughts: Daniel Garcia is going to be the G.O.A.T. someday isn’t he? The guy has all the skills to kill it in ANY wrestling company. Every time I watch him I can’t help but think of Bryan Danielson – the guy has the same pure wrestling skill and a vicious streak that makes him a perfect heel. Credit to veteran RSP though, he managed to hit some wicked offense, including a huge bodyslam that got him a 2-count on Garcia.

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #5: Alex Reynolds & John Silver def. Sean Carr & Marcus Kross

My Thoughts: Another squash match and another match that is merely a set-up to show how dominant John Silver can be given he’s headed into a singles match against Adam Cole. And Silver was dominant… eventually getting Reynolds in the ring for their fantastic combos and the win.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #6: The Acclaimed def. Ishmael Vaughn and Dontae Smiley

My Thoughts: The Acclaimed did their usual shtick and by that I mean they gave us yet more of their excellent double-team wrestling. I absolutely loved Dontae Smiley’s flurry of offense on Bowens. It didn’t get him anywhere – given that this was an AEW quasi-squash match – but it certainly looked impressive.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #7: The Bunny def. Santana Garrett

My Thoughts: This was a decent back and forth between these two women. Both hit some good – and hard – offense on the other, though Garrett’s style over substance moves eventually cost her the pin. To be fair she never stood a chance did she? This is ANOTHER match showcasing entrants into other matches. Let’s try to focus on the now maybe, rather than the future?

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #8: 2point0 def. Bison XL & Toa Liona

My Thoughts: Toa Liona is back on AEW programming. Love to see it. THe guy is really impressive and he, given his performances so far, needs an AEW contract in his future. At one point it looked like Liona was going to win this one single-handedly but unfortunately some interference from Daniel Garcia, who was at ringside, cost Bison and Liona the match. But yeah, Toa Liona is a real true standout and I hope we see a LOT more of him in AEW.

My Score: 2.5 out of 5

Match #9: Red Velvet def. Shalonce Royal

My Thoughts: Never have I wanted a match to end so quickly. No disrespect to Shalonce Royal, who has obvious wrestling skills, but she needs to drop that “opera singing” gimmick. The crowd were laughing throughout this match detracting from the action in the ring completely.

My Score: 1 out of 5

Match #10: Bobby Fish def. Ryzin

My Thoughts: Apart from a Manhattan drop I don’t think Ryzin got a shred of offense in against the veteran Fish. A man who’s dominance in AEW looks to be starting here after a series of high-profile matches and losses. Over too soon this was undoubtedly your typical squash match.

My Score: 1.5 out of 5

Match #11: Tony Nese def. Fuego Del Sol

My Thoughts: Tony Nese finally makes his in-ring debut and it’s against Fuego Del Sol. No better way to debut in my eyes! What I loved about this one was that Fuego was booked strongly, foregoing any comedy or gimmicks, and actually looked like he could win this at one point. However this was Nese’ match to win and he did just that, with a show of strength that really looked like he’d had enough of Fuego’s shenanigans and just wanted to beat him up!

My Score: 3 out of 5

Match #12: PAC def. Tiger Ruas

My Thoughts: Tiger Ruas follows up his calling out the AEW roster last week with a match against PAC. Talk about jumping in at the deep end! This was a real wrestling match, no gimmicks, no high flying, just a brilliant displasy of technical wrestling. Ruas lookoed badass, PAC looked even moreso. This was a superb example of the different styles of wrestling you get from AEW. And Ruas lived up to his promo, PAC giving him the fight he wanted.

My Score: 3.5 out of 5

Final Verdict: 2.5 /5

This episode of Dark was decent with a handful of good matches but far too many squash matches. Especially since this was a longer episode than we’ve recently seen. This is the kind of episode where a highlight reel is probably the better option. Still a handful of squash matches are better than promo after promo WITHOUT any wrestling!


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